Not two months after he successfully reinvented The Coach, in Clerkenwell (itself following his takeover of Three Cranes in the City last year), chef-restaurateur Henry Harris has confirmed that he will open The Hero of Maida on Shirland Road, between Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale, in late April this year.
On the site of what was the ill-fated Truscott Arms, The Hero of Maida belongs to the recently founded Harcourt Inns Group — a collaboration between Harris, as chef director, and his business partner, James McCulloch.
Harris has appointed Steve Collins as head chef on site. Collins, a veteran of 30 years most recently worked in charge of the kitchen at Les Deux Salons; before that, at Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s Bellanger in Islington, where he worked to win a Michelin Bib Gourmand. His forte is regional French cooking, and, fittingly complements Harris’ vision for The Hero of Maida, which, despite ostensibly being a British gastropub, is very much “modelled on traditional French bistros and seasonal market ingredients.”
Elsewhere, front-of-house will be overseen by one of London’s most gifted and gracious maître d’s, Thomas Blythe, who was general manager at St. John and St. John Bread and Wine for 12 years. Most recently Blythe had worked for the ramen chain, Tonkotsu.
The pub (and upstairs restaurant) — when the Truscott Arms — was famed for its Sunday roast. Harris and Collins will ensure that is reinstated. Seven-hour slow-roasted shoulder of lamb and rosemary is going to be among the options. Throughout the week, on daily changing menus emphasis will be placed, as is now so common, on seasonal vegetables. Example dishes given include lamb rump and artichokes barigoule (cooked in stock, vinegar and citrus to prevent the vegetable from browning) and a classic fish soup. The downstairs bar will serve salads and sandwiches throughout the day, too.
The announcement of The Hero of Maida opening states that the pub:
Takes its name from the now vanished pub, Hero of Maida, in which the hero in question was General Sir John Stuart, whose triumph at the Battle of Maida did much to restore British morale. This pub not only inspired the owners but is in fact the reason why the area Maida Vale was coined such, as well.
Maida Vale is in need of a brilliant neighbourhood restaurant. Harris can evidently restore a pub. Perhaps he, too, will restore the area’s (culinary) morale.
The site also fulfils the group’s ambition of conserving noteworthy properties and has, in this instance, they say, prevented the building from conversion into residential apartments.